It's that time of the year. When trees are decked in ornaments and lights--songs about snow and the big man in a red costume play on repeat--we hang stockings by the fire with care--the list could go on of traditions we embrace in what is indeed the most wonderful time of the year.
But among the hustle and bustle of shopping, parties, and Christmas carols is the true meaning of the season--Jesus. It's a time when we remember and celebrate the birth of the most significant human in history; a man that forever changed the world and the lives of those living it.
This month I want to take a break from our study in the book of Psalms to focus on one thing...one person...Jesus. I don't know about you but with the blink of an eye, the holiday season is over. Because in the hustle and bustle perhaps focus is lost or attention is diverted to all that glistens.
Most of us do it. Some years are better than others and you probably don't forget to pause a time or two. But this Christmas take more than a pause. Soak up what this season is all about and celebrate Christmas with authenticity. I do this for myself, if for no one else!
Before jumping into the birth of Jesus and the events leading up to it, which we will do over the next few weeks, it's important to reflect why Jesus came to Earth in the first place. He didn't have to. He could have stayed in Heaven and in perfect community with the Father and the Holy Spirit. But Jesus gave it all up, humbled himself to a life as one of us, and made the greatest sacrifice of all (which we didn't and don't deserve).
Genesis 6:5-8 sets up the "why" well:
There was a point that the earth was so wicked that it grieved God's heart to the point of regret. The theology in itself of God knowing this would happen and creating us anyway is for another post, but it's truly remarkable that God knew all that mankind would do and still chose to make us.
What's interesting about this passage is that it ends with a "but." There was one righteous man and because of that mankind was spared. This points to Jesus, the one who would truly save men from their sins. We are wicked and are flesh nudges of to stray from what is holy. We deserve death. "But." But God sent His only Son to make a way. To offer us life.
Jesus came to Earth because we needed grace and redemption that only a perfect sacrifice could offer. He created us and then laid it all down for us. That truly is the most beautiful gift of all time. You and I don't deserve this grace and redemption; in fact, we only deserve death. But Jesus looked down and saw a hurting people that he loved unconditionally. So, the only option for him was death. There was no consideration of staying in Heaven and letting us continue on the downward spiral. Without hesitation he wrapped himself in flesh--in always a very humble way, as we'll see later--and conquered death for our underserved benefit.
As you go about your week, try reflecting on what truly is the greatest gift you have received. Remember, even though he didn't have to he chose to lay it all down for YOU.